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  #11  
Old 05-12-2013, 05:58 PM
John Francis John Francis is offline
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I think you have it here. Ultimately there's quite a few issues with free to IAP.

1. You better make sure the IAP upgrade is clear and works perfectly as we had issues with both of those problems. The Gasketball guys spoke very candidly about their upgrade system having issues with confused purchase paths as well so it's not just us.

2. You don't get promo codes with IAP. While most blogs will tell you that they don't need it I bet some smaller ones would be much more apt to try you if they were just giving the code some poor college kid who happens to be a reviewer. I honestly think it helps even with the bigger guys. You can use TestFlight to sort of remedy this but there's more overhead there and that doesn't help with promo code giveaways either, which is sort of a decent way to get blogs to mention you as well.

3. No easy way to promotion. You can go free with the full game but you probably had many of your downloads already plus converting the free version to "really" free is cumbersome all around.

We went with the IAP unlock model with The Secret Castle and while it helped the download number our conversion rate was still pretty weak, and that's on top of a small promotion from Apple. Foursaken, which has a handful of huge apps in the charts now, called out most of these points to me he deserves credit but for us most of these issues have been true.

4. People will complain it's not free. While it may not be many, you will get some poor reviews from people who look at your free listing as disingenuous. It's just a question on whether it's enough to hurt your overall score. Even a professional review harped on the whole free/not free issue which bummed us out.

I wish the App Store had a better system to manage trial/lite versions but it doesn't. I don't think it's worse than the norm though as we were looking to port our game to Kinect and Xbox 360 and they don't have a system that support any large term promo code version which would be critical for a kickstarter to even fund the port.
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  #12  
Old 05-12-2013, 09:56 PM
iPadisGreat iPadisGreat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Francis View Post
I think you have it here. Ultimately there's quite a few issues with free to IAP.

1. You better make sure the IAP upgrade is clear and works perfectly as we had issues with both of those problems. The Gasketball guys spoke very candidly about their upgrade system having issues with confused purchase paths as well so it's not just us.

2. You don't get promo codes with IAP. While most blogs will tell you that they don't need it I bet some smaller ones would be much more apt to try you if they were just giving the code some poor college kid who happens to be a reviewer. I honestly think it helps even with the bigger guys. You can use TestFlight to sort of remedy this but there's more overhead there and that doesn't help with promo code giveaways either, which is sort of a decent way to get blogs to mention you as well.

3. No easy way to promotion. You can go free with the full game but you probably had many of your downloads already plus converting the free version to "really" free is cumbersome all around.

We went with the IAP unlock model with The Secret Castle and while it helped the download number our conversion rate was still pretty weak, and that's on top of a small promotion from Apple. Foursaken, which has a handful of huge apps in the charts now, called out most of these points to me he deserves credit but for us most of these issues have been true.

4. People will complain it's not free. While it may not be many, you will get some poor reviews from people who look at your free listing as disingenuous. It's just a question on whether it's enough to hurt your overall score. Even a professional review harped on the whole free/not free issue which bummed us out.

I wish the App Store had a better system to manage trial/lite versions but it doesn't. I don't think it's worse than the norm though as we were looking to port our game to Kinect and Xbox 360 and they don't have a system that support any large term promo code version which would be critical for a kickstarter to even fund the port.
Great points #2 and #3.

To get word out, you need review sites to cover your game. Having them pay for your game is ideal, but unlikely, given the huge number released daily.

Also, it seems very hard to get a sale on IAPs for reasons unknown to me. Gamers who use App Shopper will also not be notified about your IAP sale, so it will just be stuck in their wish list forever...
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  #13  
Old 05-13-2013, 04:52 PM
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DropDKeith DropDKeith is offline
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With our games, we have both. A free version with IAP to turn off ads and buy additional features, and a PRO version that includes all the features with no ads.

In our experience, we make a lot more money on PRO sales than we do with IAP (for the same feature set). I couldn't tell you why, but it has been the case for us for 3 years now.

We started with only a free + IAP model because we assumed that made the most sense. We later (several months later) released our first PRO practically on a whim. The success of it surprised us, and continues to surprise us.
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2013, 07:05 PM
GameHopping GameHopping is offline
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Interesting discussion. And very relevant to me.
I'm polishing up a huge major redo of my RPG (Retina added, reskin, tons of changes) and I am going to update the Paid and Free versions (free gets more content as well) which are iphone/itouch versions.
I am also planning on a iPad version with major interface changes (due to screen space) and was planning on a free with unlock for that one. Never did that before, so I will have to research that.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2013, 08:56 PM
iPadisGreat iPadisGreat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DropDKeith View Post
With our games, we have both. A free version with IAP to turn off ads and buy additional features, and a PRO version that includes all the features with no ads.

In our experience, we make a lot more money on PRO sales than we do with IAP (for the same feature set). I couldn't tell you why, but it has been the case for us for 3 years now.

We started with only a free + IAP model because we assumed that made the most sense. We later (several months later) released our first PRO practically on a whim. The success of it surprised us, and continues to surprise us.
Maybe because paying customers, like myself, prefer to get a full featured binary (Pro) instead of one that needs activation (lite with IAP unlock)?

I only buy lite with IAP unlock if pro is unavailable, but then, you have to tempt me first, and my usual habit in the App Store is to scroll down and if the IAP line is present, I would tend to skip that game, unless it was one that I already knew lots about and really wanted...

On flipside, if your game looks and sounds interesting and is priced between 99 to $2.99, I would still just download the pro version for shit and giggles. Even downloading 10 of such apps on impulse monthly would amount to only $29.90, much less than the cost of a console game.

But what happens if I notice you have a lite version? Ah ha! Then you would have lost your sale as I would download your lite to try out instead of your pro to try out. Then unless your gameplay is super compelling, your lite would end up being deleted after one play, like all the other lits, but the difference being that at least if you had the pro, my money would be in your pocket already.

Last edited by iPadisGreat; 05-13-2013 at 09:01 PM..
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2013, 11:17 PM
GameHopping GameHopping is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iPadisGreat View Post
But what happens if I notice you have a lite version? Ah ha! Then you would have lost your sale as I would download your lite to try out instead of your pro to try out. Then unless your gameplay is super compelling, your lite would end up being deleted after one play, like all the other lits, but the difference being that at least if you had the pro, my money would be in your pocket already.
I think it goes without saying that you don't put out a lite version unless you believe that it will hook customers.
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  #17  
Old 05-13-2013, 11:31 PM
iPadisGreat iPadisGreat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GameHopping View Post
I think it goes without saying that you don't put out a lite version unless you believe that it will hook customers.
That isn't what I am saying actually. I was suggesting that a game app priced at 99 to $2.99 would be an impulse purchase. The gamer just wants to try your game. You lose sales just by having your lite version there for him to try and change his mind about buying.

With just a 99 to $2.99 full version available, the gamer would go, what the heck, it's just 99 and buy it for fun.

Any price above $2.99 makes me sit up, take notice and reconsider downloading, which is not what you want in retail...

You must be evil and think like a salesman, not as a programmer/artist. The value of what you are selling is what your customer perceives it to be. Maybe you could hang out more with the sleazy sales types like myself.

Last edited by iPadisGreat; 05-13-2013 at 11:33 PM..
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  #18  
Old 05-14-2013, 01:49 PM
dancj dancj is offline
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As a user if always vote for a free version and a paid version as separate apps.

Unlike the above poster I take care even with 69p purchases and there are plenty of games I've bought because I liked the free version - and I'm sure there are plenty I would have bought if there was a free version - but haven't.

I make extensive use of AppShopper - so sales on IAP upgrades are invisible to me. I nearly missed out on Magic 2013 because they went that route.

As for the losing your progress, some games like Bobbing and Trainyard go the route of having separate levels, which is good, but personally I prefer the games that can actually transfer the progress across - that way I don't wind up keeping two games on my device. I don't know how that works (not being an iOS developer) but Wimp: Who Stole My Pants manages it. I'm guessing it uses iCloud.
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  #19  
Old 05-18-2013, 09:44 AM
ruka ruka is offline
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Whoa, great discussion. Internally, we always debate about this when we start the development process.

- Sometimes when we're not sure, we went with only paid version route. Impulse buy is definitely a thing and a lot of people didn't mind spending $0.99 to try the apps.

- Free with IAP to unlock ads and features doesn't do really good. Not my experience personally, but I imagine most people will only unlock for supporting the dev among other things. It depends on the game though.

- True, lite and full version separately is kinda a gamble. If it's fun, people will definitely buy the full one. On the other hand, we lost sales from the impulse-type people. The good thing is, there will be less people who feel dissapointed because the game is not up to the expectation (because they already play the lite).
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